Many times, our experience with a company can really be summed up in our individual experience with the company’s salesperson. We’ve all had the pleasure of working with great sales reps, and we’ve all worked with really sucky ones. Though the list is unlimited, I’m sure, here are five quick traits I’ve noticed in sales pros, and how the good ones treat it way differently than the bad ones.
Great sales reps have disciplined themselves to appreciate both the power of networking and the power of the sales cycle. Of course, every rep would love for a sale to close within a week every time, which is normally the expectation of the bad sales rep. But that’s not reality, and in the long run, it’s not as profitable. Great reps embrace the process, seeing it as an opportunity to simply increase their contact and opportunities to solve problems for the prospect. More times than not, it also leads to more referrals, both during and after the process. In addition, the customer almost always appreciates the patience.
A confident sales person produces a confident customer. The more I perceive that the person I’m buying from is confident in what he’s selling and what he’s saying, the more confident I feel in my decision to buy. Inversely, it’s also important to note that confidence and cockiness are in no way the same. Cocky is never attractive, but confidence, in the words of Jack Palance, is very sexy, don’t you think?
Salesmen who make a promise and then do it are actually doing the one thing that separates them from the rest the most. Those that exceed expectations are going from good to great. Whether a customer likes it or not, they want some amount of hand-holding during the buying process. They might want it going on behind the scenes, but every customer appreciates being looked out for. When a salesman grabs a bit of info specific to a customer, or gives a call when a similar product is now on sale, a connection is made with the customer.
Both good and bad salespeople follow-up. But it’s how they follow-up that splits them into two distinct groups. The follow-up performed by bad sales reps more closely resembles badgering, with a twist of annoying telemarketing. They litter your voice mail box throughout the day. They create a false sense of urgency that anyone can see through. They multiply their efforts at the end of the month, clearly trying to close this sell so it hits their next commission check. The good reps follow-up with a spirit of adding value to the customer. They don’t badger, but they do check in. They make sure the prospective customer knows they’re available when needed, and at some point communicate that the ball is in the customer’s court. Most importantly, because they’re confident (and successful), they know a single sale can neither make them nor break them, so it’s OK if you don’t buy now, or ever. Even better, they embrace the opportunity to follow-up with you for years to come, if you’re OK with it, even if you don’t buy.
Maybe this would be better communicated as “prepared.” The diligent, prepared salesperson has all their ducks in a row before you show up. They’ve taken any next step items and gotten answers to all of them since you last spoke, even if it’s still a TBD. They simplify the paperwork, explain the paperwork, and bring up points they know you probably haven’t considered, even if it could become an obstacle. They’re up-front and on top of things, again giving you reason enough to relax, feeling you’ve made a connection with someone more like a partner than a salesman.
What else makes for a salesperson that customers actually want to work with? How do you develop the skills if they don’t come naturally?
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